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Saint Louis Zoo Chosen as Nation's #1 "Best Free Attraction"

The Saint Louis Zoo today was chosen as the #1 free attraction in the nation by the USA Today's 10Best Readers' Choice Awards Program. The Saint Louis Zoo was the only zoo selected for consideration when USA Today asked visitors to its website to help pick the 10Best free attractions from a list of 20 that travel experts selected. Today results were announced, following four weeks of voting.

"We thank people throughout the nation and our region for voting for the Zoo and making this possible," said Jeffrey P. Bonner, Ph.D., Dana Brown President and CEO, Saint Louis Zoo. "We very much appreciate the support of our visitors and the hundreds of thousands who visit our social media sites regularly. This honor was also made possible by the strong support of the taxpayers of St. Louis city and County, our generous donors, members, volunteers and employees. They make the Saint Louis Zoo great. This is a win for the entire St. Louis region and its residents and civic leaders who have long supported and appreciated St. Louis' world-class FREE zoo."

The Zoo was selected over Central Park in New York City, Balboa Park (home to San Diego Zoo) in San Diego, and Millennium Park in Chicago. Votes for the Zoo were greater than those for the Alamo, the Golden Gate Bridge and Boston's Freedom Trail. The list also included the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C., among others.

In its description of the Saint Louis Zoo, USA Today reported, "the 90-acre Zoo exhibits 600 species of animals representing every continent and major biome on the planet. It's also one of the nation's few zoos with free entry, though some exhibits and shows charge small admission fees. The zoo's Penguin & Puffin Coast exhibit is one of the best penguin habitats in the country, with four species of penguins and two species of puffins on display."

Admission has been free at the Saint Louis Zoo since its founding in 1910. The Zoo is open every day of the year except Christmas and New Year's Day. The Zoo attracts about 3,200,000 visitors each year.

The experts behind USA Today's 10 Best Free Attractions in the U.S.:

Larry Bleiberg, is the former travel editor of the Dallas Morning News and Coastal Living magazine and founder of

Nora Dunn is The Professional Hobo: a woman who sold everything she owned in 2006 (including a busy financial planning practice) to embrace her dreams of long-term travel. She has written several books about affordable travel.

Anna Hider is a writer and social media manager for Roadtrippers, a trip-planning site and app offering off-the-beaten-path things for travelers to see and do.

Kim Orlando is the founder of,, and and is a social media and marketing consultant and authority on family travel.

Shereen Rayle runs the blog Shereen Travels Cheap, which aims to show that no matter what the budget, travelers can do more, see more and travel further than they thought.